Beauty Brains Brawn and Beyond designedCOLLECTIVE

designedCOLLECTIVE 2012 — A Success Beyond Measure

This was one of those times when saying, "you had to be there" rings true: Our Third Annual designedCOLLECTIVE was not

just a monetary success, having raised over $2,000 for three of the philanthropic organizations founded by the panelists, it represented a beautiful blend of some of the most innovative, conscious and creative Bay Area visionaries to come together at one time—a success beyond measure. The evening, "BEAUTY, BRAINS, BRAWN, and Beyond", was hosted by Funny or Die's Erin Gibson and featured a panel discussion lead by Paige Loczi with Katie Meyler of More Than Me Foundation, Dorka Keehn of Ignite, and Laura Guido-Clark of Project Color Corps.

Several blocks from the event venue, the San Francisco Giants were hosting the Detroit Tigers in game one of the World Series, and yet over 100 people attended the 2012designedCOLLECTIVE, bringing

both personal style and grace to make it a high celebration of human talent and contribution. Panelists were open about their experiences and mindful in the way they expressed how design can be used to move individuals to achieve. Ms. Guido-Clark, for example, related how one student at E.C. Reems Academy said the color orange is inspiring because 'It makes me feel like they had breakfast in the morning."

Elsewhere on the design front, the equally gifted violinist Emily Palen entertained early guests of "BEAUTY, BRAINS, BRAWN, and Beyond" with—in her words, "music as information, an instrument of transmutation, an architect of new frequencies and structures."

The event could not have been possible without the expertise and contributions from Jacqueline Stolte, and our friends at Partners and Sutro who offered

their beautiful space, prompting many who attended to say they wished to rent out the impeccably decorated space for their own private parties. Later in the evening, guests grooved to music from the brother of Paige Loczi, world renowned producer, DJ Loczi, while while also snacking on the treats donated by ACRE Gourmet, LIOCO wines and Ultimat Vodka.

Legendary ecological architect Dave Deppen, a longtime designedCOLLECTIVE supporter and previous guest speaker, was among those who attended, as were San Francisco Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Jon Steinberg and his wife Alexis Collentine. Eco-shoe designer Deirdre Wallace of deeFIND had the to say of her experience:

"I was moved and honored to be a part of so many progressive people in our community. Every exchange, whether between panelists or with the people I met that night, seemed to be planting seeds for projects well worth following up on. I'm very impressed by what was actually taking place at the designedCOLLECTIVE, it was more than just a shindig for beautiful designers."

The mission of designedCOLLECTIVE is to provide our community the opportunity to exchange ideas and inspire ownership in a collective, creative process, and is a hallmark value of LOCZIdesign. Design is about creating beautiful spaces that balance and inspire, and it is also about designing the outside world, being a part of something that's bigger than our sofas, our homes and our lives.

Care to learn more about our collective and our work? Visit us at
Take a look at our video and for a complete photo gallery of the recent and past designedCOLLECTIVE events, please see the great work of our friend Tim Williamson of TDWMedia.

Extra special thanks go to this year’s designedCOLLECTIVE sponsors San Francisco Magazine, LIOCO Wine, Ultimat Vodka, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, ACRE Gourmet, Palace Hotel, and The Westin St Francis, our host of Funny or Die’s, Erin Gibson, and D.J. Loczi, Emily Palen, and Partners and Sutro!

Dorka Keehn's 'Binders Full of Women'

Dorka Keehn has a had a great year.  The national organization she co-founded, Emerge America—a major contributor to the growing numbers of Democratic women serving in public office—saw 17 out of 28 Emerge California alumnae in the San Francisco Bay Area win their November 2012 ballot race. That's a 61% success rate. Emerge America operates in 12 states nationwide, inspiring women to run for political office and then training them to run. All of these women are in good company.  A record 20 women will serve in the 100-member Senate, including Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Mazie Hirono (D-HI). And at least 81 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives will be women, among them Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) who will be the first openly gay U.S. Senator.

Ms. Keehn, who was also recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle to showcase the mid-century modern furniture she designed, was kind enough to give us few minutes of her precious time.  We called her last week to hear just what this election means to her.

Do you believe having more women in the U.S. Senate will facilitate true bipartisanship?

"I have two thoughts on that: One is, yes.  It’s already apparent that the women in the Senate have a better relationship with each other, that’s already happening.  They’re having dinner together, talking about policies.  They’re ironing out issues together. It’s not that I don’t think men can’t do that, I just think that it comes a little more naturally for women.  I don’t know whether or not it’s hardwired or nature vs. nurture but it’s just the way women work. [On second thought], not all women in the Senate are progressive and want to share ideas.  There are some women who are lousy candidates and have lousy values.  But around ObamaCare and healthcare some women come across the aisle. And you see that with healthcare, education, jobs and the environment."

What are the benefits of bipartisanship for both democrats and republicans, if any?

"It’s unfortunate that the Republican Party has really become an extreme party. They’d rather shoot themselves in the foot, than take care of voters and important issues like healthcare and education. And so I think that we have to move beyond [The Republican Party] trying to take the president down and actually solve the problems that are important to the entire country. What I’m hoping is going to happen is that the more women who come into the position of power—bring different questions to the table. I think it’s important to have a diversity of people at the table of discussion."

Let’s talk about you and Emerge’s success in 2012, and with last week's election.

"For me, it’s kind of like watching our kids grow. Emerge California is 12-years-old and is now in 12 states. We'd like to get a new state every year. We have an amazing staff and board. The organization is no longer dependent on me anymore and we have other incredible women working for us. During this election, it was kind of like watching our seeds flourish into flowers.

Women in office tend to start on the ground level so now we're finally seeing them move up into office and into Senate seats. And now it’s rolling on its own power. We are now being viewed as an organization that not only trains women to run for office but training women how to win—people who have a major impact."

You are the only organizations of its kind, correct?

"Emerge America is the only company that actually trains women with a comprehensive program. There are other weekend programs as such and they are sort of like our feeders. Our goal is to be in every state. As far as Ignite goes, we are the only program out there doing an after school program for young girls. We want to train 250,000 girls by 2015. We really want to get young women to think about running for office and that actually being a career choice after college. Not just when they’re older and have had children and then decide to be on the school board. (That’s how most women’s political careers begin.) We want to create political ambition at a young age. But it’s definitely never too late to create a significant shift within women of all ages."

I love that "binders full of women" has taken the media and social media by storm. How do you think we can build upon that in a positive, less sarcastic way?

"Well I think we do want to create binders full of women so we do have a lot of options. For example, when you look at who’s on TV and who’s on the senate floor, you’ll notice who is represented there and how few women and people of color there are. When people are looking for board of directors for fortune 500 companies they need to have binders full of women to choose from. Often times you’ll hear the excuse that, ‘We can’t find them.’ But where are they looking and who are they asking—a couple of their buddies? So if we provide them with binders full of women and give them more options to choose from, we’ll see more women in those roles. I think we should use that metaphor in a positive way!"

Emerge California is having its 2013 Kickoff Reception Saturday, December 01, 2012, 6:30 PM at One Ferry Plaza Restaurant & Lounge (behind the Ferry Building) here in San Francisco.  If you'd like to keep the momentum going, or would like to support Emerge, sign up here.

Revisiting Project Color Corps and E.C. Reems Academy

Back in March (wow, was it really that long ago?) we got the chance to interview Laura Guido-Clark, a designer whose passion is to make the human response to products more meaningful through color, material, finish and pattern. Through her trademarked process, Climatology, she researches and tracks relevant changes on the social, political, economic and emotional fronts.

During the time of the interview, Project Color Coprs and E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts was in the the fundraising and deisgn process of a color transformation. Though the school itself was full of vivid imagination, joy and pride—demonstrated in the afirmations stated every morning by their Principle, Lisa Blair and her students—the outside appearance of their building fell short. And it failed to run parallel with the bounty of inspiring elements the elementary school had to offer.

When I spoke with Mrs. Minna, a staff member at E.C. Reems, a week ago and asked how the transformation affected her students, she brimmed with joy over the phone telling me that they were so proud. Mostly since her students and the surrounding community were, from the beginning, an integral part of the color selection, design and process. I asked Laura the same question on Wednesday, and she delightfully directed me to a video they put out on the web yesterday. It expresses the outcome of the project most appropriately.

I should explain to you that the E.C. Reems Academy is a K-8 extended elementary charter school located in East Oakland—said to be one of California’s most at-risk and disadvantaged communities. At this school, their guiding principles is: “Encouraging creativity to bring forth new ideas and achieve higher levels of living.”

Lisa Blair told Project Color Corps that, "the school [was] visually depressing, with layers of peeling paint on a dull exterior. Our community is very drab. The colors are mostly tans and browns—like prison colors. This is the world our children live in: one with no vibrancy, no direction, no enthusiasm, and very little hope. If you’re sent from a home in disrepair to a school in the same condition, the message is ‘You are not worth anything. There is no place for you in this society and no one cares.’ But if the opposite occurs, if our kids were to walk into a school that is inviting and bright, the message becomes, ‘Come in, dream big. It’s your world, not ours!”

Fast forward to today, “Imagine the excitement the students will feel when they step into a fresh and new environment in September 2012! You have our support and gratitude for allowing us to be a part of something so extraordinary and yet so ordinary as adding color to a world that is more often than not, shades of gray. I hope our community will grow from this experience and use color to form their attitudes and desire to experience life at its fullest. Thank you for caring about people and communities. Our facility is your canvas.” – Principal Blair

And it's with great honor that we will have Laura Guido-Clark as one of our guest during LOCZIdesign's Third Annual designedCOLLECTIVE on October 24th at 44 Tehama St, in SF, speaking on behalf of Project Color Corps and her envisions. The night is no doubt going to be an innovatively star-studded event with a panel of discussion, and food for creative thought. We will be celebrating women who are changing the world through design. So come and join us, or click here to check out more information about our benefit and Project Color Corp's color transformation story!

Beauty, Brains, Brawn and Beyond designedCOLLECTIVE 2012

LOCZIdesign is proud to present on October 24, 2012 a panel of distinguished women designing a better world - The designedCOLLECTIVE is a group of talented: interior designers, architects, furniture makers, industrial designers, landscape architects, contractors, musicians, painters and activists — deeply skillful, motivated and evolved people doing good work. Our salon-style benefit celebrates artistry and humanity by the exchanging ideas, music, and food for thought!

BEAUTY — Laura Guido-Clark is a designer whose passion is to make the human response to products more meaningful through color, material, finish and pattern. Through her trademarked process, Climatology, she researches and tracks relevant changes on the social, political, economic and emotional fronts. She distills these collective traces of the consumer consciousness into a thesis about their needs and unfulfilled desires – figuring out what people really want and why, often before they even know it themselves. Her multiple disciplinary design studio located in Berkeley, CA collaborates with companies like Kodak, HP, LG and Toyota - as well as start-ups across industries such as automotive, consumer electronics, and home furnishings. Her textile and pattern design include work for HBF, Pallas, FLOR and Uncommon. As a result of her expertise, Laura has been invited to speak both nationally and internationally on design, and was an expert design blogger for Fast Company magazine. Click here, to read more about her non-profit Project Color Corps featured on our blog.

BRAINS — Dorka Keehn is an award winning conceptual artist and social entrepreneur exploring the power of the individual to effect change, with a focus on promoting women’s leadership. As the Chief Muse of KEEHN ON ART, she works in diverse mediums including radio, film, and sculpture. Her recent projects include ECO AMAZONS: 20 Women Who Are Transforming the World, the first book on American women environmentalists, and Language of the Birds, the first solar powered public sculpture, voted one of the best public artworks in the U.S. by Americans for the Arts. A leader in the women’s movement, she is a founder of EMERGE AMERICA, the premier training program for Democratic women who plan to run for political office, and of IGNITE, which provides political and civic education for high school and college young women.

BRAWN — all three women, of course!

Beyond — Katie Meyler has been called, “The most passionate person we’ve ever met!” by Bono’s ONE Campaign, a “Social Media Role-Model” at a United Nations conference on technology. She’s been named “Outstanding Woman of the Year” by the NJ Commission on the Status of Women, honored by the Boy Scouts of America at their annual luncheon for her extraordinary work, and most recently won NJ Seeds of Hope recognizing her as a NJ state hero. In 2009 she founded More Than Me, an organization that helps young girls vulnerable to child prostitution get off the streets and into schools in one of the most dangerous slums in the world in Liberia, West Africa.  More Than Me has plans to start their own school in Liberia — The More than Me Girls’ Academy, a run-down building donated by the Liberian Government that will be refurbished and transformed into a flourishing place for their girls to be educated. Check Katie's interview with LOCZIdesign,here to learn more about her organization.

This year's designedCOLLECTIVE is a benefit sponsored by San Francisco MagazineLioco WineryUltimat VodkaStarwood Hotels and ResortsACRE GourmetPalace Hotel, and The Westin St Francis.  Hosted by Funny or Die'sErin Gibson, and with D.J. Loczi spinning on the one's and two's!


For event details and to stay in touch, RSVP by entering your e-mail below — you won't want to miss this star-studded event! 

Igniting Politics Within Young Women

This past Tuesday was National Voter Registration Day and it got me thinking about my impact as a voter, but also about my political upbringing. Growing up as a young woman of color in Baltimore, running for office wasn't necessarily a dream of mine. It didn't have much to do with my family—the support to be whomever I wanted to be was there. But open dialogue in my direct community pertaining to young women taking political action was not present. Several decades have passed since and we find ourselves in a privileged country that has changed the face of politics—literally. We live in a society where community organizations and progressive people are thinking of everyone, including young girls. People like Dorka Keehn, the award winning conceptual artist and social entrepreneur speaking at this year's designedCOLLECTIVE, are leading the way and told us about the organization Ignite.

Ignite was founded in 2009 to build young women’s political ambition and to train them to run for office. Studies have shown that women just don’t run for office at the same rates as men—despite competence levels. And why aren’t women running as often? Because most women aren’t encouraged to. It’s been visible throughout history that women under-value their qualifications.

“That’s the reason why I started Ignite” That's Anne Moses Founder & President of Ignite. “There are programs out there to support older women and established adults, but there isn't anything to the same degree for the youth. Ignite does just that: we implement a political training program, specifically tailored to the needs of young women [I should mention that we are nonpartisan]. Our model brings the program to any community that wants it, then within that community, builds a cadre of young women who first become civically engaged, then become civic leaders, and ultimately pursue elective office.”

Anne has 20+ years of experience in social justice organizations with a career spanning non-profit, political, policy, and academic sectors, and a focus on women’s and girls’ issues. Alongside an extensive consulting practice, Anne has served as Chief Operating Officer for Emerge America, Majority Council Director for EMILY’s List, and Executive Director of GirlSource. Anne is also adjunct faculty at Mills College in Oakland, CA. "We’re all about building up women who are under represented in their community. There isn’t any other organization that focuses on this age group and I'm happy to say that Ignite is doing really well. I’m just amazed by how well we’ve done in just these three years—we have been smart about our choices as an organization and I think that explains why. But we are currently looking for a third state for 2013 [we are currently have programs in Texas and California] so if anyone wants to lead the way for that, please let us know!"

Ignite runs political and civic education and training programs that are delivered on site in California and Texas high schools, college campuses, and community organizations. They hire and train Ignite college students to deliver the program in high schools with an overall strategy across both efforts is to personalize the political in everything they do. —Motivating young women to take civic and political leadership in their own communities. Central to the Ignite model is introducing female candidates and elected officials to our participants, so they can learn first-hand what it is like to run for and hold elective office.

This past March, during their annual Ignite Conference, they featured a congressional speaker and a round-table lunch with over two dozen other female elected officials. This year they look forward to another conference this spring highlighting another exceptional speaker (who may or may not be someone well-know)! If you want to be involved in their conference, volunteer efforts, or would like to donate, click here.

Paige has long been interested in civic responsibility and leadership and was fortunate to attend Girl's State as a High School student. That helped set her course as an adult. Emerge is paving the way for more involvement and awareness and therefor shaping our political landscape. Next week, she will be one of many women attending this year's Emerge America's Trailblazer luncheon, inducing co-founders Dorka Keehn and Marya Stark into Emerge Leaders Circle. Honorary key-note will be conducted by former US Ambassador & Governor, Madeleine Kunin.

Looking Out for "More Than Me"

Altruism, loosely defined as being selfless, is seen as demonstrating prosocial behaviors like offering, comforting, sharing, philanthropy, and community service. It is a virtue in many cultures, seen as a core aspect of various traditions from across the globe, and something we here at LOCZIdesign admire.

I spoke with Katie Meyler, founder of More Than Me on the phone Wednesday afternoon during their Match Day. More Than Me is a non-profit dedicated to removing little girls from the streets of Liberia, and into school, providing tuition, lunches and moral support. This vibrant organization works closely with community leaders in West Point Liberia to soundly determine which young girls are at the most at risk of sexual exploitation. Katie was kind enough to let me have a candid interview with her:

The foundation began in 2007, I believe? My understanding it that it sort of naturally began in Liberia after the war. Could you touch more on that and how you ended up there?

“I ended up in Liberia in 2006. I got my first job with Samaritan’s Purse after college and they sent me to Liberia. I knew nothing about all the complexities of post war Liberia — I thought I would be in the Middle East somewhere. Liberia has a very rich and interesting history, so I just took the plunge. Though the war was officially over in 2003, when I showed up I still saw a lot of displaced adults and children throughout Monrovia. There were people with missing limbs wondering the streets — it was a mess. I was running a literacy program in the bush. So I would come to the city to get supplies and would see children carrying water barrels on their heads, trying to make money, trying to get to school. I didn’t have much money on my salary, but I started paying tuition for some students and began telling people on Myspace, [which was cool at the time] about these children’s stories. I began to receive donations and advice from people who felt I should just begin a nonprofit.”

As an interior design firm, we also like to think of ourselves as a vessel for our clients — creating a home they thrive in, so they can beautifully manifest outwards into the world. Have you personally seen the impact of what a better home provides for your girls, their lives, their goals, and their ability to absorb education?

“We put them through school while partnering up with various leaders within their communities. These kids are pretty much homeless, they stay with relatives in houses made of garbage and tin, they usually sleep on cement floors. … Considering the conditions that they live in, you wonder how they can survive. But putting on a uniform gives them such a sense of pride, even though their school doesn’t have running water. At times some girls stay with me, and even though it’s just a painted cement building, I can just tell when there’s a clean spacious place for them, it makes them comfortable and confident. Bringing them back home is sometimes hard because they do not want to return. We’ve discussed providing a boarding situation, but we’re not quite there yet — we’re getting there though.”

It’s very refreshing to see such a vibrant group of people in your organization; Spain, Sierra Leone, San Francisco, New Jersey, New York, Liberia, New Zealand, and Korea are all represented by More Than Me’s team members. As a worldly woman yourself, do you think you naturally gravitate towards other worldly individuals?

" I work with all types of people, and there isn’t a particular type that I’d prefer to work with. It’s not just the tree-hugger in California, it’s also the republican in New Jersey [where she grew up], or the African American homeless man. It’s really about our humanity — bones and blood. Most want to be involved because they’ve somehow heard the story through me, or a friend. I actually met our web administrator Daniel on a train! I’m constantly talking about the girls. Wow, if these girls even knew that me talking about them is it’s actually what draws people… It is interesting at first when you get a team together, and they all dress differently, spend their free time differently. But there’s a deeper message for us and we live something bigger than ourselves, and get over our ego.”

Your childhood really resonates with me, growing up monetarily less fortunate, but persevering. How far has that taken you in your journey? Where do you think you differ than most people?

" I always have been a little of a strange person, even when I was younger. I never thought I wanted a house with a white picket fence. When I became a born again Christian at the age of 14, I knew I would serve the poor in some way, despite whether or not that was in the U.S.. I grew up in a very white and wealthy part of town, but I myself wasn't wealthy. I always knew that didn't define me. I loved worldy things and one of my best friend growing up was Paraguayan, I loved salsa dancing and I kind of knew that I wanted to live in Latin America or somewhere outside of the States. I had a good relationship with God and felt lucky to be who I was, living an unconventional life. But when I started More Than Me in the beginning, I sort of doubting myself, and my family and friends were also questioning my path. I was the first person in my family to attend college and they thought, 'Wow, you just graduated from college you’re going to be basically be homeless in Liberia?' But it knew it was something I had to just do."